A Year in Review: Most-Read Shaped Blogs of 2019

One of the great things about editing an online blog (or magazine, as I like to think of it) is that we can see which blogs our readers are reading most and found most useful. We are constantly striving to cover topics that will help you improve outcomes for students and bolster your own career path.

As I hear more stories from teachers and education leaders across the U.S. on the work they do in their classrooms and communities, the more in awe I am of their creativity, perseverance, and commitment to learning and improving students’ lives. In this selection of the most-read blog posts of 2019, we hear from middle school teachers, literacy and math experts, and a parent. Take a peek into classrooms and into the hearts of those who care deeply about America’s kids—and its future. 

The Top 6 Shaped Posts of 2019

1. Conferring Well—Even When You Haven't Read the Student's Book

What’s the one thing that every teacher must do (and do well) in a literacy block? Confer with students, of course! This can seem daunting when you most likely haven’t read every book in your classroom library. 

Beloved reading teacher and author Jen Serravallo gives real takeaways for conferring that are strategy based and goal focused—so that you don’t have to read literally every book on the shelf. Best of all, you’ll have meaningful and memorable exchanges with your students.

2. Learning Is Emotional: Why We Need to Maximize SEL in Our Schools

Are there students in your classroom or school that you want to reach, but something seems to be standing in the way? As Dr. Linda Lucey shares, “When the social-emotional side of learning isn’t incorporated into academic learning, too many students can be left to stay stuck in the lows, failures, and disappointment.” Her perspective as both an education expert and a parent whose child is getting caught up in the emotional lows of learning is something every parent, teacher, and administrator should read.

3. HMH Learning Moments Podcast

A podcast on a blog, you say? Well, yes! While our podcast can be accessed on iTunes, Spotify, etc., we also house our episodes on Shaped—and this just happens to be one of our most read pages.

Alexa Tegtmeier, a third-grade teacher, was featured on the HMH Learning Moments podcast.

A little about our podcast: Right now, we are running two series on HMH Learning Moments:

  • Teachers in America features interviews with real teachers across the country, revealing real triumphs, tribulations, and opinions about the education system today. True confession: I have cried listening to quite a few of these!
  • Shaping the Future covers hot topics like the dangers of poor media literacy and teaching civics. Within each episode, Harvard lecturer Dr. David Dockterman sits down with one person from the education industry and one person from an industry we want to learn from. They talk about where education is today, where it needs to be, and how to get there. Every educator, ed leader, and policymaker should tune in. 

4. Shift from the Traditional Classroom to a Math Workshop Structure

In this post, two middle school math teachers walk you through the most effective way to engage kids in math and prep them with skills they will need for the future: complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, reasoning, and ideation. 

5. Do We Have to Embrace Technology in the Math Classroom?

The short answer is YES, mainly because kids from 2 to 18 years old are glued to screens everywhere. To reach these digital natives, you’ve got to meet them where they are and speak their language. Math Solutions Senior Fellow and former NCTM President Matt Larson shares, “Technological tools truly support student development of a deep understanding of mathematical relationships and mathematical structure—allowing us to focus more on conceptual knowledge and problem solving.” But we know that no tool can replace the most critical component of the classroom—and that’s the presence of a highly effective teacher who builds strong relationships with students. 

6. 4 Mistakes Educators Make Trying to Manage Cellphones in Schools

Weston Kieschnick, one of ICLE’s Senior Fellows, always infuses humor into both his writing and speaking events—and this blog is no exception. Every classroom and school wrestles with the push and pull of needing to integrate tech into the classroom and getting kids to stop using cellphones for personal use during instructional and learning time. Weston pinpoints four common mistakes educators make around this—and four ways to solve this universal problem.

If you missed these blog posts in 2019, we hope you'll check them out over the holiday break, preferably with cup of hot cocoa in hand. Wishing you and yours a joyful holiday season from the entire Shaped staff! 

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